With the news coming in on Friday that Seattle and Oakland are closing in on a deal that would send Quarterback Matt Flynn to Oakland via trade. Many fans have questioned what Seattle would do at the backup quarterback position if Flynn did indeed move on to another team.
Possible free agent quarterbacks Seattle could add includes Tyler Thigpen, Vince Young, Seneca Wallace, Matt Leinart, Kevin Kolb, Rex Grossman and if cut by Oakland, Carson Palmer could be a target for Seattle.
I see Thigpen, Leinart, and Young as the most likely being targeted by Seattle. Leinart played under Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll while Carroll was at USC, and Leinart was the starting Quarterback. Seattle targeted Leinart in during the 2010 off-season when they acquired Tavaris Jackson, but Leinart chose to stay with Houston.
Leinart has an 8-10 record as a starter, and spent most of his career in Arizona but was cut after failing to beat out veterans Kurt Warner, and Derek Anderson during his time there. He is smart, accurate and able to control an offense. He lacks a big arm, and is unable to move well behind the line of scrimmage to make plays with his legs. Leinart would come cheap, and is a player who will not lose you many games, the downside is he will not be able to run the option, or be a threat doing so, and he will not make many big plays with his arm either. I could see Leinart coming to Seattle but I would think Carroll would want someone a little more mobile to run the offense if needed.
Tyler Thigpen is an interesting option he was the first NFL Quarterback to run the current zone-read pistol college style offense during his time with the Chiefs. In 2008 he started 9 games, threw for 18 touchdowns, and ran for nearly 400 yards. Despite racking up some nice stats he was unable to win many games going 1-10 as the starter. Despite a poor record he was able to move the offense, and would be able to run the zone-read option with success.
Thigpen also spent time with current Seattle Seahawk offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell during the 2007 off-season while both were in Minnesota. Thigpen was however put on waivers and claimed by the Chiefs before Minnesota could stash him on the practice squad. Thigpen’s poor record as a starter could scare Seattle away but his physical abilities would be appealing to Seattle.
The Quarterback I find the best fit on the market, but probably not a player Seattle is likely to sign is former Seattle Seahawk Seneca Wallace. Wallace spent 2003-2008 as the backup to Matt Hasselbeck during his time with Seattle, before being traded to the Cleveland Browns. Wallace shares many of the same attributes as Russell Wilson, in skill set and size. Both are quicker than fast, undersized, and can stretch the field with their arm.
Wallace was always able to come and move the offense while taking over for Matt Hasselbeck, but was never able to play at a consistent level over a long stretch of games. This has led to him being a career backup and he spent the last year completely out of the league. Wallace like Wilson stands under six-feet tall, and is able to make plays with the pocket brings down and would any play in the Seattle playbook. The problem is would Carroll bring back a player he traded when he came here? Would Wallace want to come back to a coach who did not want him? I think Wallace would love to take any job, but not sure if Carroll sees Wallace as his backup.
I see these three veterans as the best fit for Seattle’s offense, other veterans such as Rex Grossman, and Vince Young could be explored. Grossman and Young do have winning record as starters in this league, Grossman however has been very inconsistent and Young is a time bomb waiting to happen with an explosive attitude. His skill set however could make Carroll give him a shot that and a 31-19 record as a starter. While I see it possible and close to plausible I feel his attitude is to much of a threat for Carroll to take a chance.
Whoever the backup is, I don’t see him actually getting any playing time. Wilson has always been able to move around to avoid big hits, and is a smart quarterback who takes care of himself.